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Bande Magnétique

Bande Magnétique

13 Track, LP (2010, Patsy Records)
Related: Ninetynine.

Minimally and elegantly presented, the seventh album from ninetynine – the long running “pop” (the quote marks are used advisedly) outfit helmed by Laura MacFarlane – is a treat.

This line-up – MacFarlane and multi-instrumentalists Cameron Potts (Baseball), Meg Butler (Tarantula) and Iain Mcintyre (Les Hatchets) – has been constant since about 2007, and the album was recorded at MacFarlane’s home during 2009. While that gives the impression of a band that gets stuff done – they’ve also toured overseas a number of times – nothing moves too fast in ninetynine’s world. Having said that, the opening track, ‘Guest List Girls’, buzzes and fizzes with a gleeful, slightly manic energy. MacFarlane has a big voice hidden in that small figure, and there’s a fairly solid wall of bass-heavy synth pop to back her up, too.

In recent live shows, they’ve been happy to mix things up by swapping instruments on a song-by-song basis, and that spread is also at work here. They have a fair few to choose from, including violin, xylophone and trumpet, in addition to the more standard guitar/bass/drum combo. The result is a richer selection of textures, which gives the album an added degree of depth.

There’s a fair bit going on, mostly a great deal of beauty and coyness. Although all recognisably by the same band, no two songs sound exactly the same; different styles are hit upon, played through, and left for the challenge of the next tune. The density of ‘Broken Hands’ gives way to ‘Woods’, which marries a simple repetitive guitar with sweeps of strings. The band's willingness to play with sound and structure doesn’t let them down, despite some tunes like ‘Silo’ being just a little too loosely structured. The titles often don’t give many clues as to either the content or the intent of the songs here, and it’s left to the listener to figure out the angles. But then, what else could a song called ‘Motorcycle’ be about?

This is a rewarding listen from a band who are inexplicably still one of Melbourne’s lesser-known treasures.

by Trevor Block

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Your Comments

astrousersasmind  said about 4 years ago:

Best album yet, concise, punchy, energetic, still reeks of DIY and that edge mixed with Laura's slight Glaswegian harshness works wonder with their melodies. Woods is an INCREDIBLE song.

Block  said about 4 years ago:

I think my record for uninterrupted repeat listens to ''Guest List Girls'' is eight times. So far.

Baz!  said about 4 years ago:

That's hilarious, I do the same. Put it on repeat that is.

goingblank  said about 4 years ago:

Guest List Girls is a total jam.

megb  said about 4 years ago:

Thanks for the review Block!

Our last Melbourne gig for the year is coming up soon:

megb  said about 4 years ago:

We are also playing at:
Frankston on the 18th of Nov at Pier Live
Geelong on the 19th of Nov at Bended Elbow

Block  said about 4 years ago:

Who's the Pier show with?

astrousersasmind  said about 4 years ago:

Nice poster! This is such a good album. I've flogged those opening 3 songs at least two dozen times in the last couple of weeks.

liamsnice  said about 3 years ago:

this friday at the oldie.

i think the franga and geelong shows are with regurgitator.

megb  said about 3 years ago:

Thanks astrouser.

And yep you are correct Liamsnice.

megb  said about 3 years ago:

Bump for tomorrow night.

tigers  said about 3 years ago:

Looking forward to this. Pops owes Keisha a beer too...

poprocks96  said about 3 years ago:

Why do I owe Keesh a beer?

tigers  said about 3 years ago:

years of abuse?

poprocks96  said about 3 years ago:

Fair enough.

goingblank  said about 3 years ago:

Is this likely to get a vinyl release?

liamsnice  said about 3 years ago:

moreso tha having thison vinyl i would be very excited to see the cover art for this release in a 12'' format.

anonymous  said about 3 years ago:

bit early to start drinking liam.

liamsnice  said about 3 years ago:

i have actually not begun yet, although that last post may give the impression that i have.

Tiger Tiger  said about 3 years ago:

pretty sweet cover art.

megb  said about 3 years ago:

megb  said about 3 years ago:

Here's the poster for the gig again...

megb  said about 3 years ago:

We play in Geelong tonight.

anonymous  said about 3 years ago:

you survived frankston! well done.

firewitch  said about 3 years ago:

When/where do you play?

Maybe a trip to geelong is on the cards

megb  said about 3 years ago:

By the skin of my teeth anon.

Tonight is at The Bended Elbow.

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  • 1.   Guest List Girls
  • 2.   Broken Hands
  • 3.   Woods
  • 4.   Motorcycle
  • 5.   Silo
  • 6.   Brown Swan
  • 7.   San Pedro
  • 8.   Always
  • 9.   The Vole and the Shrew
  • 10.   Vanishing
  • 11.   I Could Not Recall Your Name
  • 12.   Going South
  • 13.   Long Way Back
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